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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Story: Road to Long Sepigen

(Pic of Selungo Steel Bridge, Ulu Baram, Miri, Sarawak )
While most young people of my age would be dreaming of a comfortable job in the city upon graduation, I have set my aims to pursue a forestry career and got a job which needed me to travel to my work place which takes at least 7 to 8 hours by land thru logging road to the interior of Ulu Baram, Miri, Sarawak. “This is our first assignment for this month, we be going in on the 14th Febuary” instruct Laing Imang (Assistant Forester) to me. I was thinking that I am going to miss the Valentine Day for this year. I had planned to meet my love. The task given brought thunder strike and broke my heart as my romantic planned has gone to dust and blow away by the wind. I had planned it for months. Many will thought that Valentine Day is a nothing if you can’t celebrate with your love one’s but for me I’m in the lonely jungle, i wanted attention and love from both my lover and family, never the less. “Work is work, the task given must be done, this I cannot denies working as a forester is tough, be patience,” I thought quietly. Laing Imang, Lawai, Padan and I have hardly packed with food and survey equipment for the works of road alignment from the main logging road to the Penan community village. The purposed of the road connection to the Penan community is for development opportunity. “Make sure you bring the complete survey equipment, we do not want to do it for the third time and hopefully the local people would not oppose us” remind Laing to me once again. He have done the task twice and been rejected, by the Penan villagers. I imagine stretched earlobes, spears and blowpipes in hand aiming at me and the rest, this worried me! In reply, I joke and say, “Let`s try my luck for this time. It’s much tougher during my studies” Laing was standing there looking at me with his local hand roll cigarette and finally said, “Wait and see” as he smile and started to walk in the jungle. After about an hour of jungle trekking, I ask Padan , “How far is the distance from the main road to the village, and how will they react with this proposed road alignment?” “A few more kilometers to go,” said Padan and pause for a while to catch his breath and said, “I want the road but others I don’t know.” Padan’s a casual crew is from the village we headed. He told me it’s hard to travel by river and highly cost of fuel in the interior is burdening him and that’s why he wanted the road. Some Penans communities use river as their main connection to the outside world and their have a very strong environment value to the land they inhabit in. Only some Penans support the road. I remember Lawai saying to me before the grueling journey start,” Give me some of your loads to me, I’ll carry it for you.” This is just a small example of friendship and teamwork in the forest. My heart touched because of his kindness in helping me even though he also carrying heavy loads. Half way thru the trekking and survey works. Suddenly, a voice’s shout out to us and we stopped. Trying to locate the voice, there standing just below the cliff where we are standing a Penan elder staring at us with an uneasy body language. Our worst nightmare has come true. “What are you all doing here?” shouted the elder Penan from the down hill of his paddy field. Padan answer quickly, “We are doing the road alignment to the village.” “You better leave now, I do not want the road to our village because the road alignment encountered with my paddy field,” replied the elder Penan. We try to explain and told the Penan elder that this is just a survey works and no construction will be done at this moment without agreement from the village communities, we just wanted to determine the alignment of the road to the village. But the Penan elder once again say “This is my land, I want the road too but not thru my paddy fields, find another way.” “Let’s go back” said Laing, “There’s no point of continue on”. All the hard work we done is been stopped by a man. We have to respect the man decision and do not want to make the situation getting worst. I was standing tired and disappointed upon hearing this; all the three hours of trekking and works just puff off like the smoke from Laing hand roll cigarette. We turned and head back to the Selungo Steel Bridge with three hours of walk. On the way back, it was like walking with torn in my feet, I’m thirsty and hungry. “Not far to go, not far to go” I said to Lawai with a joke tune in my voice just to cheer up the gang, and finally we reached the Selungo steel bridge and what a wait us is the vivid orange color four wheel drive ready to take us all back to camp. While wondering things happen today, my best friend Kelvin Manit enters my room. Kelvin and I had been friends for 8 years , we met each other during my studies. A cheerful and happy go lucky person, he has been working here for 3 years now before i joined in. Kelvin asked me what’s wrong as he always knew that something had happen to me so I told him the story happened today. And he laughed and say “This is just the beginning, there’s more to come my friend. This is baptism of fire as a forester”

1 comment:

  1. It felt good seeing your blog. It gave me a lot of information that I needed. So, I thank you for the good article.

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